By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Barring a deal between now and then, Danton Heinen and the Bruins will get together for an arbitration hearing on Aug. 3.
A restricted free agent and unable to come to terms on a new deal in the immediate aftermath of the Black and Gold’s run to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the 24-year-old Heinen officially filed for arbitration on July 5.
The right-side element of Boston’s third line with Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson (now with the Sabres), Heinen totaled two goals and eight points in 24 postseason games for the Bruins this past spring. Heinen left something to be desired at times, especially offensively, but there was no denying that the lefty was one of their top defensive forwards throughout the playoffs, as no regular Boston forward had stronger five-on-five percentages in Goals-For (68.42 percent) and Scoring-Chances (54.88 percent). The Bruins also had a save percentage of .955 when Heinen was on the ice.
Before his postseason run, the 6-foot-1 winger recorded 11 goals and 34 points in a regular season that saw him bounced around Boston’s top-nine forward grouping, on both the left and right side. And though the year was an obvious offensive step back from a 2017-18 season that saw Heinen have the best rookie year by a Boston skater since Sergei Samsonov, his best run came during a two-month stretch from February through March where he recorded four goals and 20 points in 26 games.
Overall, Heinen has recorded 27 goals and 81 points in 162 NHL games.
While the Bruins would love for Heinen to take a page out of Kevin Labanc’s book (the San Jose winger signed a one-year, $1 million deal to stay with the Sharks on Monday) before Aug. 3, it will be interesting to see how the third-party arbiter rules this case should Heinen and the Bruins indeed require arbitration to come to terms on a new deal.
Avalanche-turned-Leaf forward Alex Kerfoot recently signed a four-year, $14 million ($3.5 million AAV) contract with Toronto, and has posted almost identical numbers to Heinen to date. Sticking with Toronto, Andreas Johnsson signed a four-year extension that carries a $3.4 million cap hit, while Kasperi Kapanen signed a three-year deal with a $3.2 million cap hit. Again, both players have stats and numbers that seem more than comparable to No. 43 in Boston.
Heinen checking in at $3.5 million on a one-year deal via arbitration, of course, would be the walk away number that the Bruins could decline to pay, making Heinen an unrestricted free agent free to talk with any team. If Heinen is awarded a two-year deal in excess of $3.5 million, the Bruins could instead opt for a one-year deal at that given salary.
No matter how it’s sliced, it’s hard to imagine the Bruins actually wanting this to go to arbitration.
The Bruins, who still have to re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy this summer, have over $10.1 million in available cap space.